7 day trip to Oahu
My husband and I – and our 6 year old girl
Day 1: Travel Day
Woke up in our hometown of Victoria and drove to the ferry. Arrived in Vancouver 1.5 hours later, headed off to the Airport.
Check-In with West Jet went perfect. Seats were great, just a few rows from the front of the plane. The plane itself was great – everyone had their own TV (note for those travelling from Vancouver to Hawaii: You will only have free satellite tv for the first hour of your flight – after that you are too far away front land to get a signal).
Arrived at Honolulu Airport at 10pm. We were greeted by Melvin from ABC Limo with leis. The limo ride was great! Everyone was so excited and surprised!
We arrived at Hilton Hawaiian Village at about 11pm. There was NO LINE at all. Check-In was a breeze and we even go upgraded from an Ocean View Kalia Tower room...to an Ocean View room in the Rainbow Tower.
We walked through the hotel grounds and got to our room. Unlocked the door...and...got yelled at by two people in bed!!!!!!!!!!!!! We walked back down to the lobby and caught the bellhop with our luggage and advised him of what happened. He was REALLY upset that we had to experience that upon arrival, and got the manager of the hotel for us. The manager apologised and upgraded us to a 1 Bedroom Ocean Front Suite in the Rainbow Tower (room 1613 – AMAZING). He also gave us 2 free Luau tickets and 3 free breakfast coupons for the Rainbow Lanai buffet.
The room was great. Amazing view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach (I’ll be posting pictures in my hotel review soon).
After the drama, we decided to go to sleep so we could wake up early in the morning and start our vacation!
Day 2: Beach Day
Woke up and took a TON of pictures from our decks. Yes. DECKS. We had two!
Headed down to our free breakfast at the Rainbow Lanai buffet. Good food (not great). But it was free and we were full and happy!
We headed over to the ABC Store that was on the property and got beach mats and headed to the beach.
Waikiki Beach...amazing. The beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village is huge, and not crowded AT ALL. We played in the surf all day long, and took a walk about 15min down the beach walk to explore a little.
We went to Dukes for dinner. I loved it. Great atmosphere. Tried my first Mai Tai...I am not a fan LOL. My husband had the ribs which he said were amazing. My daughter had a cheese pizza (which came with a flower in the middle of it – which she loved!). I had the tomato basil pizza – which was a great thin crust pizza. We watched the sunset from Dukes – so pink and pretty!
Off to the International Marketplace...I’ve got to say...I didn’t love it. Every store was selling the same stuff...very tourist-trapish...My daughter did the ‘Pick a Pearl’ (we later realized that those kiosks are EVERYWHERE LOL). She got a pink one, so she was pretty happy!
We headed back to the hotel after that as our daughter was pretty tired from a long day. We tucked her into bed and then went and sat out on our deck for some beers and alone time
Day 3: Outrigger Catamaran Sail
Woke up early and went to the Starbucks at our hotel for a quick bite to eat before heading to the Outrigger Reef.
We went on the 8am Snorkle/Sail with Outrigger Catamaran ($49 each). It was great! There was about 20 of us on the boat. We sailed out to a ‘Turtle Cleaning Station’ just a little off shore (maybe ½ a kilometre). There were turtles...EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!! My husband and I took turns snorkling (as our daughter is not a strong swimmer and it was 30 feet deep where we were snorkling). We got some great underwater pics of the turtles! After we snorkled we went on a ride out on the boat into the ocean...it was rocky...and...my daughter and I both felt pretty ill (though thankfully neither of us threw up!).
Once we got back to shore, we decided we needed to eat breakfast – so we hit the Shorebird. I have to say, it was the best breakfast I had the whole vacation. So good! Tons of fruit and stuff as well as lots of eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns etc
We walked back to our hotel and decided to hit the pool (as our daughter had been BEGGING us all morning). We decided to go to the waterslide pool...and it was...INSANE. Screaming kids EVERYWHERE...yelling parents...packed like sardines...so...we left the pool and went to the lagoon instead. The lagoon was great – our daughter loved the calm water to get accustomed to the water. After a while it started to feel like we were hanging out at a ‘fake beach’ (which of course we were), so we headed to the beach infront of the hotel. I still cannot believe how uncrowded this beach was. Loved it. We went and got shave ice from the snackbar below the Rainbow Tower. Fast service and the girls who worked there were really friendly.
We went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner that evening. If I could go back in time and NOT go there...that would be nice. We waited ½ hour for a table (which we were expecting, so that was fine). We ordered our food etc...and when it came...my food was stone cold. So, I sent it back. I got my food again...took a bite....COLD AGAIN. Sent it back...and this time when it came back it was hot. The manager apologized for the inconvience and removed that dish from or bill (it did ruin our dinner though as my husband and daughter had both finished their meals by the time i had finally gotten hot food).
We explored the main strip for a bit and then headed back to our hotel suite...and our great decks! Beer and Mike’s Lemonade. Yum!
Day 4: Zoo/Aquarium/Pool/Luau
We went for breakfast at the Rainbow Lanai again...and again...YUMMY. Also, if you don’t want hot food and just want fresh fruits/pastries it’s $5 less for your meal.
After breakfast we jumped on The Bus and headed to the Honolulu Zoo. The bus was easy to use and very cheap!
The Zoo was great. Tons to see and we were surprised at how close you can get to the animals. Our daughter loved the reptile exhibit and also the African exhibit where the Lions and Zebra’s were. There’s a great little shady area by the Lions to have a Shave Ice and get out of the sun. I would recommend going earlier in the morning as we did, to avoid being at the Zoo in the heat of the day.
After the Zoo we walked along the beach to the Aquarium. The Aquarium is small, compared to ones we have been to in other cities...but it was very intimate. The volunteers were very knowledgable and the ‘hands on’ area for kids was great! Our daughter got to hold a sea urchin and a few other little creatures. We also saw the state fish: humuhumunukunukuapuaa
The bus back...we got lost! We weren’t sure how to get back but a really nice bus driver let us tag along on his route and dropped us off at a bus stop we could transfer to the correct bus at. He was VERY nice. Didnt make us pay for our fare, and gave us free transfers.
The afternoon we were lazy, spent the rest of the day at the beach and the pool and just spent time enjoying the sun.
In the evening we went to the HHV Luau (only because we had free tickets to go). It is on the rooftop of the HHV convention centre. When we walked into the main area where the luau was to be held, we all were greeted with performers in traditional Hawaiian clothing and they gave us leis (our daughter LOVED this). We had our picture taken (which costs $20 if you want to buy it at the end of the luau – we chose not too). The service at the luau for drinks was fast, and the drinks were great! Try the Blue Hawaiian here, it was my favourite of the whole trip. The food at the luau was good (not great) but we were really happy with it since for us it was a free dinner. The show was entertaining and the performers really got the audience involved in the show. All in all, it was a fun evening.
Day 5: LOST TOUR
SLEPT IN!!!! (Finally on Hawaii time!)
We went to Starbucks for a muffin and then took off to the International Market Place to get our daughter’s hair braided. $5 per braid – but she loved it! (they lasted for 3 days after we got back from our trip too!)
We went to Margaritaville for lunch. I got the volcano nachos...and wow...they are HUGE. They have a great kids menu here too. Husband got a burger which he said was good.
After lunch we RAN back to our hotel because...we had to get ready for our KOS Lost Tour (5 hour tour, $139 each)
Our tour guide, i think, was named Jeff. He was AMAZING. Within the first 3 minutes of being in the car you could tell he was a fan of the show, and that he knew his stuff (he also had a binder full of stills from the show, so that when we stopped at a location he could jog our memory of the scene that was shot there). It was amazing to know that some of the LOST filming locations where RIGHT BESIDE OUR HOTEL!!!! We made a ton of stops along the way to the Kualoa Ranch (Chinamen’s Hat, Macadamia Nut Farm, Locke’s dad’s house, the place where Mr.Eko died etc).
Upon entering the ranch...we knew that this was going to be amazing (just in the scenery alone). Here are a few of the highlights of the tour:
- Saw a car chase scene being filmed for Hawaii Five-O
- Saw the sets and trailers for Battleship (new movie coming out in 2011)
- Saw the sets and trailers for Off the Map (new show coming this fall)
- Amazing LOST locations
- Reinacting LOST scenes in the exact location that they were shot (our guide took our picture in each scene – really great pics!)
- Locations of a dozen or so other movies that have been filmed at the ranch (50 First Dates, Jurassic Park, Godzilla etc)
- Amazing, insane views of the mountains, the ocean, just the beauty of the ranch itself
We were back at the hotel by 6pm – and went to TROPICS for dinner (at the hotel). While this restaurant is a bit pricy, it always had great food and great service – it was worth it. After dinner we got into our bathing suits and went for a swim in the pool. It was great that the pools at the hotel were open from 8am until about midnight (i did wonder a bit what the people thought that had their hotel rooms just above the pool area ). After the pool we snuck off to bed as we had an early morning the next day.
Day 6: Hanauma Bay
Got up early, ate some granola bars, and headed to the front desk to figure out how to get to Hanauma Bay. Got convinced that it’s a better idea to take a shuttle rather than The Bus. So that’s what we did.
We went with a shuttle called “Snorkel Adventures” ($15 each for roundtrip back to our hotel and snorkel gear). The shuttle was great – the driver, Ike, reminded us of ‘The Dude’ from The Big Labowski movie!!!!
The bay was amazing. TONS of fish to see (the further out you go, the better the snorkelling is – i recommend going out past where the waves are breaking – if you are an okay swimmer). We saw the Hawaii state fish (Humuhumu), turtles, and tons of HUGE tropical colourful fish!!!!!
The ride back to the hotel...was awful. The driver spent the entire trip yelling on her cellphone trying to convince people she owed money to that she would ‘pay them next week’. Everyone in the shuttle was shocked that she was doing this. It put a bit of a damper on our ‘high’ that we had from seeing such amazing wildlife.
After returning to the hotel we went to Roundtable Pizza for lunch (on the hotel property). This place charges the same for pizza as they do back home, so we were pleased with the prices. We got a couple medium pizzas (ate at the restaurant – outside) and then took our leftovers to go so we could eat them later in the room.
We went to the beach and a family gave us their boogie board and floater because they were leaving that afternoon – THANK YOU! Our daughter had a great time playing with the boogie board in the ocean (as did we). One thing to mention...it costs $30 for an umbrella at the beach...and $15 each for chairs...We did not do this. We stuck with our mats and if we got too hot, we moved our mats under the shade of a palm tree (there are tons on the HHV beach).
After a long day, we went to Tropics for a few drinks and then headed back to our room for bed.
Day 7: North Shore Tour
Starbucks...what can we say? We love the fact that it was right on the hotel grounds!
After Starbucks we headed for the bus pick up spot (Tapa Tour) to get our shuttle for our North Shore Tour. We went with Discover Hawaii Tours ($49.99 per person for the tour).
The tour guide was very knowledgeable regarding the history of Oahu (he was an ex school teacher). We saw quite a few things along the way and made a few stops:
- Haleiwa Town (drove through – no stop – was disappointed in this)
- Sunset Beach (stopped for 20 min)
- Pali Lookout (stopped for 20 min), and Chinaman's Hat Island
- Laie Point and Kahana Bay
- Dole Pineapple Plantation (Dole Whip is awesome! Stopped for ½ hour)
- Kahana Bay
- Royal Kunia Country Club (stop for lunch – not included – but food was great – stopped for an hour here)
The trip was very informative and gives you a good ‘snap shot’ of the North Shore. Next time we are in Hawaii i would like to rent a car and go that route (we didn’t this time as we were a bit unsure of how we felt about venturing out on our own).
We went to Tropics again for dinner – yummy! (each time we ate here the bill was about $70 for the three of us – not bad!). We went to the beach and had a night swim in the ocean (awesome) and then to the pool to please the kid (she loved the super pool – so quite here and a nice big pool to swim in). After that we went back to the room and packed up our stuff a bit and went to bed)
Day 8: We leave today
We didn’t have to leave the hotel until 8pm...so we had a whole day to hangout!
We packed up the rest of our stuff and checked out at 10am (check out time is 11am at the latest). We reserved a courtesy room for later in the day so we could shower/change before our plane ride home (make sure you do this the day before you leave – i ran into a couple that did not do this and all the courtesy rooms had already been booked up).
After checkout we went to the beach. We rented an umbrella today (as we were planning on being on the beach all day long). Great day at the beach. Shave Ice was a BIG part of our day lol – our daughter loves it! After the beach we moved to the pool so our daughter could have a final swim in the super pool before we had to go shower etc in our courtesy room.
The courtesy room was great – we had an hour to shower/change etc and then ran the key back to the front desk. There was cold beer in the fridge of the courtesy room (we assume that other travellers had put their extra beers in there before leaving the hotel). We had a beer each – and replaced those with some Mike’s Hard Lemonade for the next group that would be coming into the room to shower etc.
We grabbed pizza for dinner and ate it in the lobby of the hotel (the lobby is great here – tons of chairs and tables and places to sit –and free water (that had fruit in it) there as well).
At 8pm ABC Limo came and picked us up for our trip to the airport (they were right on time). Our daughter cried in the limo..saying she wanted to move to Oahu and didn’t want to leave! Sooooo cute...and really made us happy that she had such a great time!
All in all, our trip was amazing. We loved Oahu, and would love to come back to Hawaii to visit the other islands (and make another trip to the North Shore!).